HC Deb 14 August 1860 vol 160 cc1256-7

Resolution reported. That it is expedient to enable the Secretary of State in Council of India to raise money in the United Kingdom for the Service of the Government of India.


observed that the best way to improve India, and enable her to bear her own burdens, was to encourage the people to raise articles of produce that could be exchanged for our manufactures. India would never prosper as long as her produce was exchanged only for specie; and he contended that if the present tariff was continued, it would be most detrimental to the interests of that country.


said, he had that morning received a letter from a gentleman intimately connected with the trade of India, stating that the tariff was operating most injuriously to trade. There was practically a protection of 25 per cent in favour of Indian produce; and mills were in consequence being rapidly constructed for manufacturing purposes in that country, while the labourers were withdrawn from the operations of agriculture. He suggested that an Excise duty should be imposed on manufactures in India equal to the Customs' duty now imposed on imported goods.


said, he wished to call the attention of his right hon. Friend the Secretary for India to a matter which had received the consideration of a Committee of that House appointed to inquire into the question of Military Expenditure. It appeared from the Report of that Committee that £60,000 a year was paid by India into the British Exchequer for expenses incurred in connection with invalid soldiers; but he wished to advert to the fact that if the British army in India was in future to amount to 80,000 men, this sum of 60,000 would be wholly inadequate for the purpose for which it was paid. He believed that a sum of not less than £500,000 a year would in that case be necessary. He did not wish to interrupt the progress of business by any remarks on this subject; but it was clearly one that ought not to be lost sight of in connection with the subject of Indian finance. He hoped that when Parliament met next Session his right hon. Friend would be prepared to bring the matter under the consideration of the House, with a view to some modification of the existing arrangement.


said, that in reference to the subject referred to by the hon. Member for Manchester, as well as the hon. Member for Sheffield, he had to state that he had received no information that led him to suppose any such evil consequences as they pointed out were likely to flow from the Customs' duties imposed on goods imported into India. The arrangement was strictly for revenue purposes, and he had no reason to suppose that it had injured trade. Speaking generally, India was prospering, agricultural produce had risen in price, and the value of agricultural labour had also been enhanced. The increase of manufactures in India, was caused chiefly by the employment of British capital; and that was a result which he was sure no one ought to complain of. As to imposing an Excise duty on Indian manufactures he could not see the wisdom or propriety of such a course. He should like to know what his hon. Friend the Member for Manchester would say if it were proposed to impose an Excise duty on cotton manufacture in this country. The proposition he had made was one which he hardly expected from, a Freetrader. With regard to the Customs, the duty on many of the principal articles of British manufacture had been reduced from 20 to 10 per cent, on others it had been raised, so as to leave an uniform duty of 10 per cent. When it was found possible to reduce the duty the Government would be happy to do so; but, in the present state of Indian finance, such a course was not advisable. With regard to the charge of £60,000 now payable for the dead weight arising from the troops employed in India, he could only say that the subject was one requiring serious consideration; and he hoped that before long it would be possible to bring about such an adjustment of this and other charges as would place them on a fair and equitable footing.

Resolution agreed to.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. MASSEY, Sir CHARES WOOD, and Mr. BARING.

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